Like a rejected woman, I cried inside the hotel room until I got tired. I warned Zuby not to go. I told him that we could just disappear. If only he listened to me. Now the police arrested him and I didn’t know when that would be over. The only flash of positive news in the whole thing was that he had his mobile phones, which meant that his case was not serious. They wouldn’t have allowed him to have access to his phones if he was a suspect.
I slowly got up and walked down to the reception. Everywhere seemed to be turning or maybe it was my head that was turning. I didn’t know how to approach the receptionist and tell him that I was leaving few hours after I checked in. Everything looked suspicious. The only time I did such thing was when I was a drug bird. There were times when I would lodge in a hotel to bring out whatever I had swallowed, and then I would leave immediately after irrespective of how long I spent there. But this time, I had nothing illegal, only that my boyfriend was hell bent on going to troubles rather than running away from them. Eventually I walked to the receptionist.
“Is there anything you want Miss Maria?” The friendly receptionist asked.
I nodded and told him that there was an urgent need for me to leave the hotel. He said he couldn’t refund my money since it has already been keyed in the system and that government has taxed it.
“No problem,” I said, “Just call your friends to help me with the bag. I need to get them to the taxi stand.”
He called the same guy who helped me earlier and we took the bags outside. I entered a taxi and drove back to the apartment. It was true there was no immediate danger anymore. Aunty Joy and the two men had been arrested but I was still scared to stay in the house alone. It felt as if they could escape from police cell and come for me.
As I lay on the bed that night, I wondered how I got deeply involved in the things that were happening. I had many chances to walk away in the past. I could have taken any of those chances and simply disappear. It came to my mind to leave Sweden when Zuby said he was going to Mallorca some days ago. I could have just packed my things and return to Italy. The friends I had there would have welcomed me back despite everything I did. They knew I was desperate. They all knew what happened to me. I could have gone back to my apartment and waited for whatever consequences that would arise as a result of my actions. But I stayed back in Sweden. I waited for him to come back, hoping that he would quit or at least suspend looking for troubles. But I was wrong, his life seemed to be interwoven with troubles and if care was not taken, it would be only a matter of time before one of them swallowed both of us. I needed to run when there was still time.
He said there was some money in his red bag, he asked me to use it to help myself if things got worse at the police station. That was what I was going to. I was sure the police wasn’t going to let him go easily. Aunty Joy would entangle him into her statement in the police station. It would be difficult to wriggle out of this one. I was finally going to leave Sweden for good.
I got down from the bed and opened the red bag; sure there was money in it, enough money to last me for months even if I didn’t do anything else. There was over 10,000 Euros carefully arranged inside a small compartment in the bag. Ironically I prayed for him not to be released. I prayed for the police to slam one or more charges against him as well so that I would have enough reason to run away. Not that I couldn’t just pick the money and leave but I was scared he would find me. He would definitely find me. He did that before, he would do it again. He would ask questions until he find out wherever I would be going. I just needed to have enough reason to leave because if I just left without his approval or without him being detained for long, he could attempt to harm me. He was like a moving Train that stopped only when he wanted.
I woke up the following morning around 6am, the phone woke me up. It was Zuby calling. I had a dream about him the night before. He was searching the entire Europe for me, just like I thought. In the dream, I was hiding in a friend’s house in Napoli. He came to the house and was standing at the door asking my friend if I was in her place. My friend was struggling with him at the door. She was telling him that I was not there and that he should leave or she would call the police.
“Call the police if you like. I am searching this apartment whether you like it or not,” I heard from Zuby at the door. At that moment, I woke up to the ringing phone.
“Hello,” I said, half asleep.
“Did I wake you up?” The voice said from the other end if the phone, it was him, the terrorist.
“It’s OK, you can talk, and I am awake now. What’s going on?” I asked.
“Sharon and Peace are here. The police went to get them from Lulea. They are going to testify against Aunty Joy,” He said.
“That’s good. That means they will let you go,” I said knowing that I didn’t want them to leave him easily. I wanted to leave.
“I am out already. I am coming back to the apartment very soon. I just finished talking to the girls. They will stay with the Police for now. I think I might go to the hospital to see Rose first. I still don’t know where they took her but if I find out, I will go and come back later. There is so much to talk about when I come back. See if you can cook something for us,” He said.
Gawd! He was returning. He was even talking about food. I wasn’t going anywhere soon. I was stuck with him. It was a matter of time before I got swallowed in the whole mess. What gave me more worries was that he would escape whatever trouble I was going to encounter. He would jump it and run like he has always done. He always thought about everything and he dictated how things were done.
I was in tears when he returned. I didn’t know why I was even crying.
“I am leaving,” I said as soon as I opened the door for him.
He didn’t say a word, he just looked into my eyes and hugged me.
I cried on his shoulders for several minutes before he said “Maria, you are not going anywhere.”